Abstracts 4/2020

Editorial: Career Monitoring Promotes Education Development

Jyrki Laitinen, Vice Rector, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, jyrki.laitinen(at)oamk.fi

A Career Monitoring Survey is sent annually to graduates who have received their Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees in a university of applied sciences five years earlier. The purpose of the survey is to find out the graduates’ career, position in the job market and satisfaction in the degree they have finished.

When writing this editorial, the third national Career Monitoring Survey has just been concluded. A total of 8.870 persons of year 2015 graduates answered in the survey, making it 34% of those who graduated that year. The survey and customs connected to it have been developed in the projects ‘From UAS to career’ and ‘From UAS to career – Career Data for All’ in cooperatively with several universities of applied sciences. The discussion in various phases of the development work has been productive and crossed higher education borders. In the steering committee, along with the universities of applied sciences there have been representatives from Aarresaari – Career Services Network of Finnish Universities, SAMOK (a nationwide student organisation), Akava – Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, STKK (a confederation of trade unions), Statistics Finland, and Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus.

The funding model of universities of applied sciences, entering into force in the beginning of 2021, lies in the background of the Career Monitoring Survey. Of the annual total of 25 M€ funding, 3% will be given based on career monitoring. The Ministry of Education and Culture has defined in the criteria for funding what kind of questions are presented to the graduates from five years earlier and how they are scored. The funding portion of each university is calculated based on the combined number of scores from the questions. In practice, the most defining actor measuring the success of a single university has been the number of respondents in the survey.

Vital signals to those arranging education

In addition to determining basic funding, career monitoring produces significant and useful information especially for developing education. The survey looks into the correspondence between the education of the graduates and work-related requirements from various perspectives. Results of the survey are gathered in the Vipunen – extranet service of the universities where they can be accessed in both numeric and graphic form. The general level of education and accumulation of various generic competences can be evalued with respect to the work-related requirements experienced by the respondents based on the results of the survey.

For instance in 2013 and 2014, 72% of the graduate respondents (total 16.736 persons) stated ‘slightly’, ‘somewhat’ or ‘completely’ agreeing with the claim “The qualification gave me sufficient work-related preparedness”. Conversely, 28% more or less disagreed with the claim. This can be seen as a significant share and a clear signal for development to the universities arranging education.

We may deepen the scrutiny by studying differences in fields of education. Respondents of health and social sector (total 6.246) were the most contented (77% min. ‘slightly agreeing’) with work-related preparedness. The least contented were respondents from the humanistic fields (62% min. ‘slightly agreeing’) and respondents from the fields of IT and telecommunications (65% min. ‘slightly agreeing’ respectively, totals 1.150 and total 1.027).

A window into work-related competence needs

It’s good to remember the time perspective when evaluating results from the career monitoring. The respondents have graduated five years earlier and in best case, started their studies nearly ten years before the survey. It is obvious that during this time frame both contents and implementation of the studies have developed, and thus direct conclusions between the results and current curricula or implementations cannot be made. The results of the survey can however be utilised in a relatively straight-forward manner when considering the emphases of curriculum planning or especially continuous education offerings. The results do describe such work-related competence needs that the basic education has not been able to provide.

In terms of individual competences, the surveys thus far have brought forward stress tolerance and adaptation to new situations, problem-solving skills, organising and coordinating skills, as well as communication and negotiation skills as most significant subjects requiring to be developed.


Work-related data into use and promoting development

Liisa Marttila, Special Designer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, liisa.marttila(at)tuni.fi
Satu Helmi, Quality Designer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, satu.helmi(at)turkuamk.fi
From UAS to career – Career Data for All ESR project

The articles in the UAS Journal themed issue Using data from work-related studies deal with employment, career, and competence needs of the highly educated, as well as work-based developing of education. These themes are looked into from the views of various fields and students, not forgetting economical, social, cultural and regional preconditions.


The Career Monitoring Survey provides information on the quality of employment

Satu Helmi, M.Ed., Quality Designer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, satu.helmi(at)turkuamk.fi
Ismo Kinnunen, Ph.D., Director of Development, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, ismo.kinnunen(at)oamk.fi
Sirpa Louhemäki, MBA, Knowledge Production Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sirpa.louhemaki(at)laurea.fi
Susanna Saarinen, M.Soc.Sc., Special Designer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, susanna.saarinen@tuni.fi

In the funding season of Universities of Applied Sciences starting from 2021, the quality of employment is considered in addition to the quantity. This refers to the correspondence between the employment of graduates and the education and, especially, the level of degree. The quality of employment is studied with the career monitoring survey, which is carried out annually. The target group is those who have completed a UAS Bachelor’s degree five years earlier.

For higher education institutions, the career monitoring survey provides information on how well the competence produced by the higher education studies meets the needs in the world in work. For current students, the survey produces information on what kind of work-related skills they are expected to possess and helps to understand the importance of developing other skills besides the professional ones. The difference between the competence produced by the higher education institution and the skills required in the world of work indicates the changes occurring in the world of work, and provides signals for the development of the quality of education as well as the continuous learning services and courses offered.

Key words: alumni, career, career monitoring, feedback from the world of work, funding model, monitoring indicators, qualitative employment


Lifelong learning is an essential part of artistry

Tomi Kuusimäki, Lecturer, Project Manager, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, tomi.kuusimaki(at)samk.fi
Sade Kahra, Regional Project Manager, Novia University of Applied Sciences, sade.kahra(at)novia.fi

The years after graduation are significant for integration into the industry, and this particularly applies to visual artists entering a field with few conventional jobs. Beyond the years of jeopardy is a nationwide project executed by four Universities of applied sciences offering degrees in visual arts. The project aims to improve the employability of visual artists by developing work studies and internships. During spring 2020, the project conducted an online survey with 161 current art students. The second target group was professionally active artists who graduated in 2008–2020. 51 alumni were interviewed. Findings show that students and alumni consider self-management, creativity, artistic vision, resilience to uncertainty and coping as important skills in the profession. Besides the essence of lifelong learning, the interviews revealed loneliness as a profession trait and an interest for cross disciplinary co-operations and art outside of the galleries.

Key words: lifelong learning, visual art


Meaningful work – experiences of the alumni in the world of work

Juuso Puurula, Bachelor of Natural Resources, Soc.Sc. Master’s Student, Project Assistant, Häme University of Applied Sciences, juuso.puurula(at)hamk.fi

This article examines the change occurring in the world of work. In Oiva-project the experiences of sustainable development alumni were examined through a survey in fall 2018. The results confirm the findings of previous research that work has become a source of meaningfulness for many and that it’s more important to be able to self-develop at work than to earn a high salary. Also, the importance of generic work-related skills has grown and skills to search and analyze information as well as learn new things were voted as the two most important skills in the alumni survey. This research was conducted prior to the global corona virus pandemic which makes it possible to conduct a similar survey after the pandemic in order to research whether the meaning of work or the skills needed have changed due to the pandemic.

Key words: alumni research, change, meaningful work, sustainable development, work-related skills


Factors of commitment to work in the interface of studies and work

Henna Heinilä, PhD, Principal Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, henna.heinila(at)haaga-helia.fi
Annica Isacsson, D.Sc. (Econ.), Research Manager, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, annica.isacsson(at)haaga-helia.fi
Anu Järvensivu, PhD, Principal Lecturer, Humak University of Applied Sciences, anu.jarvensivu(at)humak.fi
Eija Raatikainen, Dr.Ed., Principal Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, eija.raatikainen(at)metropolia.fi
Nina Simola-Alha, M.Pol.Sc., Lecturer, Humak University of Applied Sciences, nina.simola-alha(at)humak.fi

Among young recent graduates, in social- and healthcare and ICT-sector, retention is a problem. It is hence important to study how to hinder retention and how to engage young employees at work, especially in these two fields. In this article, these aspects are dealt with from an educational perspective. The article is based on the Kannustava Puhe (engaging talk) research, which was conducted through adapted approaches involving Appreciative inquiry and Stimulated recall. The research involved 20 recently graduated employees from five related organizations.

The results indicate three interfaces between the world of work and higher education: project learning, work-integrated pedagogy and work and study model. For young graduates meaning at work is a value. Also, learning at work and personal competence development are seen, not only as a prerequisite for development, but as an appreciated privilege. That is why they also expect their studies to support these skills.

Key words: engagement to work, recent graduates, work-related skills


Master’s degree programmes of Universities of Applied Sciences renew work and competences – or do they?

Anne Rouhelo, Dr.Ed., Lecturer, Education Officer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, anne.rouhelo(at)turkuamk.fi
Leena Nikander, Dr.Ed., Principal Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, leena.nikander(at)hamk.fi
Taina Kilpinen, D.Sc. (Econ.), Project Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, taina.kilpinen(at)laurea.fi
Sanna Niinikoski, MBA, Coordinator, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sanna.niinikoski(at)laurea.fi

The target group for the national Career Monitoring Survey are alumni who have completed a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in a University of Applied Sciences five years before the time of the survey. Monitoring produces up-to-date information on alumni employment, competences and career opportunities provided by education, and the equivalence of studies to work. This article focuses on the results of a separate pilot survey conducted in 2019 describing the career paths of Master’s degree graduates in 2012. The pilot survey was conducted because the nature of the master’s degree is different from the undergraduate degree. The results show that alumni are satisfied with their degree and the career development it produces. In particular, the increase in professional self-confidence, the improvement of the position in the labor market and the advancement of professional careers were perceived as positive. On the other hand, according to the alumni, the recognition of the degree and the appreciation of the employers are not yet at a good enough level.

Key words: career monitoring survey, HE development, Master’s degree, monitoring careers, work-related relevance


University of Applied Sciences Master’s degree serves a wide range of career options

Kristiina Ojala, D.Ed., Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Education, University of Turku, krojala(at)utu.fi
Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret, D.Ed., Professor, Department of Education, University of Turku, ulpukka.isopahkala-bouret(at)utu.fi

The University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Master’s degree is completed from a variety of starting points. Students are also in different situations with regard to their careers. In this article we highlight our key findings from the career models of UAS Master’s degree graduates to support the development of the degree education. We recognised five types of career trajectories: rising career, renewing career, entrepreneurial career, continuous career and unstable career. These trajectories provide information about the different career progression routes. UAS Master’s degrees can re-orient and enhance different careers trajectories in multiple ways, e.g., by providing formal qualifications and new expertise. Understanding the nature of career trajectories of graduates at a Master level is important when we consider how UAS could better take into account the diversity of students’ work histories and career aspirations as part of the degree education.

Key words: career, career types, university of applied sciences Master’s degree


Masters of Social Services (UAS) are still looking for their place in the changing labor market

Sirppa Kinos, D.Soc.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, sirppa.kinos(at)turkuamk.fi

In my doctoral study (205/113 respondents), I examined the employment of Masters of Social Services in the labor market and their competences, challenged by the rapidly changing society.

The respondents aimed at the development of professional expertise, new duties as well as career advancement. Three quarters of graduates had achieved these goals at least partly. An equal number could be employed in their current position without the Master’s degree. One third of the graduates was promoted to more demanding work, less frequently in public sector. The most successful was the specialization in development and leadership.

The degree was considered a rewarding individual investment. However, their position in the labor market is unclear. The degree does not entitle to a position of a licensed social welfare professional. The task structure in social and health care needs reform. The degree program needs more publicity. An option is to concentrate on education for managerial positions.

Key words: labor market, Master of Social Services, professional competences


Career monitoring data as a navigator of continuous learning

Jaana Kullaslahti, PhD, Principal Research Scientist, HAMK EDU, Häme University of Applied Sciences, firstname.lastname(at)hamk.fi
Tina Lauronen, M.Soc.Sc., Researcher, Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus, firstname.lastname(at)otus.fi
Liisa Marttila, Dr.Ed., Special Designer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, firstname.lastname(at)tuni.fi
Sanna Niinikoski, MBA, Coordinator, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, firstname.lastname(at)laurea.fi

Continuous learning refers to education offered mainly for non-degree students by higher education institutions. The results of the UAS Career Monitoring Survey can provide broader statistical-based knowledge on trends in needs of content and forms of further and continuing education, as well as students’ profiles with different educational needs and expectations. In addition to training, the career monitoring survey results highlight the need for various guidance services.

Key words: career monitoring, continuous learning, universities of applied sciences


Work-related data as a basis for developing the strategy of continuous learning in Lapland

Helena Kangastie, MHS, Specialist (RDI and learning), Lapland University of Applied Sciences, helena.kangastie(at)lapinamk.fi

Education has undergone a major change in recent years also in Lapland. At the moment there is a need to jointly create a state of mind for the future direction of continuous learning development in Lapland. Higher education institutions have an important role in creating this state of mind, as they are leaders of lifelong learning strategy work. It is important to collect versatile and as comprehensive information as possible at different stages of the strategy process. It is essential to consider what kind of work-related information is collected as a basis for building the strategy.

In this article I describe the building work of a lifelong learning strategy, and the use of work-related data as its basis. I highlight the information provided by stakeholders as well as the feedback given by representatives from the world of work, and the utilization of both in the strategy work. The practice of collection and systematic analysis of work-related data also promotes higher education institution’s societal impact.

Key words: continuous learning, societal influencing, work-related data


Fostering autonomous learning in universities and workplaces

Tanja Vesala-Varttala, PhD, Principal Lecturer in Marketing and Communication, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, tanja.vesala-varttala(at)haaga-helia.fi
Anna Hankimaa, MSc (Econ), Doctoral Candidate, Senior Lecturer in International Business, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, anna.hankimaa(at)haaga-helia.fi

Autonomous learning is a professional necessity in today’s fast-changing and internationalizing workplace environments, in companies and universities alike. Keeping on top of change requires that students and employees have the ability and opportunity to self-regulate their continuous learning process. In the Erasmus+ co-funded RDI project CORALL – Coaching-oriented Online Resources for the Autonomous Learning of LSP, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and five European partner universities have collected qualitative data about autonomous learning experiences from company representatives, educational experts, and higher education students across Europe. The project brings together universities and employers to share knowledge and provide support for autonomous learning. This is a way to foster key workplace competences highlighted in the national career monitoring survey by Finnish universities of applied sciences (2019).

Key words: autonomous learning, life-long learning, self-directed learning, project-based learning, workplace learning


Do foreign students become international talents in the Finnish labour market?

Tina Lauronen, M.Soc.Sc., Researcher, Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus, firstname.lastname(at)otus.fi
Susanna Saarinen, M.Soc.Sc., Specialist, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, susanna.saarinen(at)tuni.fi

The number of foreign degree students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences has increased over the past decades. Although studying in Finland is more common, foreign alumni can face more difficulties and breaks in their working life than Finns, especially if they stay in Finland. While 74 % of Finnish-speaking Finns have a permanent full-time job five years after graduation, the corresponding percentage for foreigners is 59. In addition, there is a clear wage gap between Finnish and foreign alumni working in Finland, probably suggesting that foreign alumni’s jobs do not always match their education. Hence, about a third of foreigners work abroad five years after graduation and many of them continue their studies in a university after completing a bachelor’s degree. Despite the higher unemployment rates and other employment-related challenges, foreigners are, on average, slightly more satisfied with their UAS degrees than Finns.

Key words: career monitoring, employment, Finnish labour market, foreign students, international students, university of applied sciences


Future-proofing ALL our students and graduates

Sandra Slotte, M.Sc.Ed., Head of Sustainable Career Support, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, sandra.slotte(at)arcada.fi

The national student and alumni satisfaction surveys provide excellent learning opportunities for evaluating the respondents’ perceptions of the quality of Finnish higher education and services with regards to employability, career development and entrepreneurship. But there is a lack of representation of and thus valuable data regarding international alumni’s perceived satisfaction with their UAS studies and the studies’ relevance for work and career, due to the low amount of international respondents in the Career Monitoring Survey. There might also be value in having access to longitudinal national data from earlier stages of the student journey than graduation, which would require a third survey or a coherent feedback system for all HEIs. In order for us to future proof our higher education as well as all our students and graduates, we need to know what we should do, how we should do it and most importantly – why we should do it.

Key words: career, data collection, employability, feedback, international alumni, satisfaction


Finnish for foreigners coaching as a tool for integration and employment in workplaces

Kirsi Autio, M.Pol.Sc., M.Ed., Project Specialist, Karelia University of Applied Sciences

Karelia UAS, Savonia UAS, and the University of Eastern Finland are jointly committed to promoting education-based immigration in Eastern Finland. The goal includes increasing the number of international students and their employment in the area. Educational immigration is seen as one solution to the problems of the labor market in sparsely populated areas. On the other hand, statistics, research, and experience show that higher education does not guarantee equal employment opportunities for international professionals compared to the general population. This article examines how Finnish for foreigners teaching was utilized in a joint development project between the University of Eastern Finland and Karelia UAS to address this structural problem. The article also describes what kind of information was utilized in preparing and implementing solutions. The project’s outcomes show that the Finnish for foreigners learning process may actually work as a two-way integration tool in workplaces and increase the sense of belonging and well-being at work.

Key words:


Continuous evaluation and the cooperation in the world of work at the core of quality development

Marjo Jussila, M.A. (Arts and Design), Project Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, marjo.jussila(at)lapinamk.fi
Pirjo Könni, M.Ed., Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, pirjo.konni(at)lapinamk.fi

Digiassari project and Digiassari training aim to meet the skills needs for the future. Continuous evaluation of the content, implementation and influences of the training program is the key for the development of the training. Participants have been happy with better skills for networking, job search and for designing and implementing digital marketing. The employers have had very concrete expectations for the assignments and students have met their needs well.

Key words: competence, education, evaluation, work-based


Managers’ evaluations of specialization education

Hanna-Leena Melender, Specialized Nurse, Dr.Sc. (Health), Principal Lecturer, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, hanna-leena.melender(at)outlook.com
Anu Piirainen, Public Health Nurse, M.Sc. (Admin.), Designer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, anu.piirainen(at)kamk.fi
Paula Vikberg-Aaltonen, Specialized Nurse, MHS, Lic.Ed., Principal Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, paula.vikberg-aaltonen(at)hamk.fi
Sirkka Saranki-Rantakokko, Specialized Nurse, MHS, D.Sc. (Admin.), Principal Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, sirkka.saranki-rantakokko(at)lapinamk.fi

The objectives of the specialization education programs are to meet the work-related competence needs and to support continuous learning. The aim of the Specialization Program of Registered Nurse’s Appointment Work (30 ECTS) is to strengthen competence in patients’ clinical nursing care, client education and evidence-based practice. The first educational program was implemented in 2018-2019 in six Finnish universities of applied sciences and to develop the education, evaluation data was collected with a survey in the workplaces of the students. An invitation to the survey was sent to 32 persons and 17 responses were received from persons who were working as managers. They had received information about the education program mostly via email. The arrangements of the education had succeeded well from the point of view of the workplaces. By offering an opportunity to participate in the education, the managers had most often aimed to support the career development of an employee, the learning of new, strengthening of clinical competence and development of evidence-based practice. However, utilization of the new competencies of the employee was not always planned before.

Key words: evaluation, educating the future workforce, health care, professional specialization, registered nurse’s appointment work


Agile developing of competences needed at work

Helena Turunen, D.Sc. (Econ.), Principal Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, helena.turunen(at)hamk.fi

The objective of this article is to describe how co-operation between higher education and work can be enhanced in master’s degrees. The research was conducted in the master’s degrees in business management at Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK). An agile and flexible pedagogical model is applied in HAMK master’s studies, utilizing teamwork, flipped classroom pedagogy, online tools and students’ workplaces as learning environments. This model enables effectively new forms of co-operation.

As a conclusion, the further development of co-operation should be flexible and should take place at three levels: operational flexibility, tactical flexibility and strategic flexibility. Strategic flexibility refers to increased joint planning of education at a national level, whereas tactical flexibility aims at concrete actions in co-operation. Operational flexibility, again, means joint implementation plans and models.

Key words: agile and flexible higher education, co-operation between education and work, Master’s studies in business management


Orientation to the world of work as an inspiration for engineering education

Katri Hendriksson, M.Eng., Project Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, katri.hendriksson(at)lapinamk.fi
Timo Kauppi, IWE, IWI-C, Lic.Tech., Principal Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, timo.kauppi(at)lapinamk.fi

An interview study was conducted at Lapland University of Applied Sciences in 2019, in which mechanical and production as well as electrical engineers graduated between 2009-2016 from Lapland University of Applied Sciences were interviewed to clarify their employment status after graduation. Similar study was implemented at Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences in 2009 to engineers graduated between 2003-2008.

Study was conducted to find out important information for the development of training programs. The results obtained from this study were compared with the previous study. Engineering education at Lapland University of Applied Sciences has a very high-quality status based on the comments which raised in the survey.

Based on the results, it was possible to map the employment status of graduated engineers and whether they were more likely to end up in supervisors or expertise related tasks. A large number of responses were received and the mapping could be performed versatile. The work tasks varied some, but there was a clear emphasis on supervisor and expert tasks.

Key words: education, engineering, industry, research and innovation activities, university of applied sciences


Work-related data of the social and health care sector to be used in the SOTETIE project

Jari Helminen, D.Soc.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, jari.helminen(at)diak.fi
Ulla Markkanen, MHS, Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, ulla.markkanen(at)tuni.fi
Tiina Säilä, MHS, M.Sc. (Admin.), Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, tiina.saila(at)tuni.fi

One way to collect work-related data is be part of the national projects. In the ESF-funded (SOTETIE) project an electronic roadmap for the development of the skills of social and health care professionals will be developed. In the spring 2020, work-related data were collected through five workshops and couple of surveys. The workshops and surveys provided a wide range of data.

Short-term continuing education is better suited to developing the common skills of social and health care professionals than long-term or specialization studies. The needs for the development of professional competence in both the social and health sectors are best met by short-term (1–5 cr) and / or long-term (15–30 cr) studies.

When planning specialization education, common areas of the expertise in the social and health fields must be taken into account. For example, the formation of a common language and professional understanding was seen as an advantage of common education.

Key words: competence development, continuing professional education, orientation to the world of work, social- and health care sector